MemorialFlag

Memorial Day observances honor those who gave all

Area Memorial Day observances announced

Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, is an American holiday observed on the last Monday of May honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Monday, May 28, is the date of Memorial Day in 2018. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades.

Memorial Day originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. In 1868, three years after the Civil War ended, Maj. Gen John Logan, the head of an organization of Union veterans, established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the Civil War dead with flowers. The first Memorial Day ceremony was held at Arlington National Cemetery where small American flags were placed on each grave, a tradition which continues today at many cemeteries.

After World War I Memorial Day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by Congress and was placed on the last Monday in May.

Local communities establish how Memorial Day is observed. In Dawson County, the Etowah Lodge will place the crosses honoring local veterans who died in all wars. The Dawson High School JROTC will present the flag.

In Pickens County, the Memorial Day observance will be coordinated on May 28 at 10 a.m. by the Marine Corps 1280 North Georgia Mountain Detachment at the Lee Newton Memorial Park on 599 Stegall Drive across from Ingles. A presentation of wreaths and speech by Lt. Col. (Ret) Joseph D. Hodge are planned.

In Big Canoe, the Memorial Day service will be held on Monday, May 28 at 11 a.m. in the Big Canoe Chapel. (See separate article on the North Georgia Veterans’ Memorial Day program in this issue of Smoke Signals Weekly).

In Gilmer County (Ellijay) on Monday, May 28 at the Veterans Bridge and Park, there will be a ceremony in observance of Memorial Day beginning at 11 a.m. The ceremony will begin with an opening prayer by Rev. Rebecca Holmes of Cartecay United Methodist Church. Troop #402 will then present the American Flag, and the 2017 Gilmer County Citizen of the Year, Mr. Larry Davis, will lead those in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by Ms. Dana Burton singing the National Anthem. Guest speakers are Army Colonel (Ret.) Gerald Lord and Dr. Wilbur Mattison (WWII veteran and Purple Heart recipient). Mr. Van Banke will sing “God Bless America” and in closing, Mr. Jim Brackin will sing “God Bless the U.S.A.”

In Dahlonega, Memorial Markers Volunteers, a team of over 100, will place nearly 700 memorial markers and American flags on each marker in honor of veterans from WWI to Vietnam along the major roadways and corridors leading into Dahlonega, and around the Historic Downtown Square. The markers are placed during the weeks prior to Veterans Day and from Memorial Day through the 4th of July.

On Saturday, May 26, Blairsville observes Memorial Day with a community parade at 10 a.m. followed by a ceremony at War Memorial Park at 11 a.m. Also on Saturday, May 26th at the Georgia National Cemetery located at 1080 Veterans Cemetery Road in Canton, the observance begins with flag placement and salute at 9 a.m. Yonah Brass will perform, followed by the program from 10–11 a.m. at the Assembly Area.

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